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Bill Shorten says Labor could introduce a new mining tax

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Bill Shorten has left the door open to drawing up a new federal mining tax, but emphasised that any such proposal would follow consultation with state governments and the resources industry.

The opposition leader said the minerals resource rent tax – abolished by the Abbott government after raising significantly less revenue than originally forecast – would not return in the same form under a future Labor government.

“The mining tax that was repealed, we won’t be bringing back,” Shorten told Adelaide radio station FiveAA on Tuesday.

“The principle, though, of a share in terms of profits going to Australians is a good principle.”

The Labor senator Sam Dastyari revived the issue on Monday night when he told the ABC’s Q&A program that he saw “a whole bunch of policies that we are going to have to reverse” if elected.

Pressed on the prospect of reintroducing a mining tax, Dastyari said: “My personal view is that the richest, most powerful miners should be paying a little bit more … I think that I personally believe that we should have a situation where we’re making sure that people are properly paying for what are the resources in this country.”

Asked at a media conference on Tuesday whether he would reintroduce the mining tax if he won the next election, due in 2016, Shorten turned the focus back to the Abbott government.

He said the “worst travesty” was that the government’s “dirty deal” to repeal the measure in the Senate last week also delayed superannuation increases for millions of workers.

This element of the legislation was a clear breach of the Coalition’s promise not to make any unexpected adverse changes to superannuation, Shorten added.

“In terms of the mining tax, what we say is that we do believe that Australians are entitled to their fair share of the natural resources of this special country within which we live, but the process has to be done through consultation with state governments and industry. That’s the approach we would take,” Shorten said.

“I’ve made it clear that we will reveal all our policies in good time before the next election and make sure that before we were ever to introduce major economic changes we will consult with the affected parties. I ask who did Tony Abbott consult about freezing the superannuation accounts of millions of Australians? My tip is he looked in the mirror and consulted himself and I find that very scary for retirement savings.”

On Tuesday the government confirmed details of its timetable for repealing the “failed” mining tax, after the legislation received royal assent on Friday.

The treasurer, Joe Hockey, and the finance minister, Mathias Cormann, said the mining tax would end on 1 October.

Other elements of the legislation are backdated:

  • the abolition of the company loss carry-back applies from 1 July 2013
  • the reduction of the instant asset write-off applies from 1 January 2014
  • the abolition of accelerated depreciation for motor vehicles applies from 1 January 2014 and the abolition of geothermal energy concessions applies from 1 July 2014.

The Labor MP Julie Owens last week accused the government of “treating Australia’s small businesses with contempt” by keeping them in the dark about the instant asset write-off timing.

But Hockey and Cormann said the proclamation of these dates was consistent with previous announcements.

“Consistent with the policy the government took to the last election and [Australian Tax Office] advice provided to the government, the relevant start dates have been outlined by the ATO and advised to taxpayers from as early as 8 November 2013,” the ministers said in their joint statement on Tuesday.

“The ATO has further advised the government that it will waive all penalties and interest in instances where taxpayers have chosen not to prepare their returns on the basis of the government’s announcement of these measures, if they seek to have their income tax assessments amended in reasonable time.”

The ATO said it would work closely with tax practitioners and industry on the administrative changes so they could provide assistance and advice to their clients. Small businesses seeking further information could call the ATO on 13 28 66.

 

The Guardian

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